Another packed council month and the November Ordinary meeting certainly provided me with the opportunity to get my head around some complex items. Three key studies were presented to adoption to council. One of these was the Bendigo Urban Flood Study and the recommendation to consider the Panel Report and Adoption of an Amendment to the Planning Scheme. I supported the motion to accept the Panel's recommendations, adopt the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme Amendment C221 with changes and forward the adopted Amendment to the Minister for Planning for Approval. Importantly, Council agreed to update the Bendigo Urban Flood Study when the State Government releases its specifications for taking climate change into account and that the update includes:
Consideration of the risks associated with climate change
Planning Scheme Amendment - Lansell Crest, East Bendigo
In May 2017 Council resolved to refer this Amendment (and Development Plan) to the Minister for Planning to appoint an independent panel and advisory committee (PAC).
The Minister for Planning appointed an Independent Panel to consider the Amendment and a joint Advisory Committee (PAC) to consider the Development Plan.
The Panel Hearing was held on 5, 6 and 7 September 2017 in Bendigo. The PAC considered all written and oral submissions and material presented to it in connection with the Amendment. The PAC responded with conclusions in response to all key issues raised by the submitters. Including compliance with State and Local policies, removal of cap on dwellings, site contaminations, heritage, notification, neighbourhood character, urban design, amenity and built form, The General Residential Zone (garden area), access and movement, traffic generation and assessment methodology, impact on surrounding road network, development plan road network and parking, Infrastructure and servicing, open space and landscaping, assessment of development plan against the Planning Scheme requirements.
In summary, the PAC supported the Amendment as exhibited with minor changes to the wording and layout of the Development Plan Overlay Schedule 16, and no changes to the submitted Development Plan DP/80/2016. The PAC was satisfied on all fronts that the Development Plan will provide an acceptable development outcome and should be approved. The proposed density of development is consistent with the residential development policies for Bendigo and the site, and will make appropriate use of a designated Key Development Site in proximity to the Bendigo City Centre. The proposed development will make a positive contribution to the character of the surrounding urban environment by facilitating a well-designed, contemporary development on a vacant site.
Therefore I supported that Council adopt Amendment C220 in its revised form as recommended by the PAC, and to forward the adopted Amendment to the Minister for Planning to approve. These two processes will acknowledge the Council’s in-principle agreement to the proposed development and complete the Amendment and Development Plan process.
A planning permit application is required to be submitted, assessed and issued before development could begin. The approval of the Development Plan does not automatically mean approval of the development, as the application will need to demonstrate compliance with the relevant Zone and other planning provisions. The permit application will, however not be subject to public notice as per Development Plan Overlay requirements.
facilitating a well-designed, contemporary development on a vacant site.
White Hills and East Bendigo Heritage Study
This was a challenging item and though I support the adoption of the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme amendment C223, I was not in support of including 68 and 70 Bridge Street, Bendigo as 'contributory' places because of their limited heritage value. After inspecting properties and meeting with owners, I was not convinced that including the properties as 'contributory' would create the best outcome for the City of Greater Bendigo. I was keen to support an outcome that facilitated a viable future development of these land holdings which aim to remove the current manufacturing site located in a residential area. Unfortunately, the debate to exclude these properties did not sway the vote which ended up 4 votes (in support of exclusion) to 5 (against).
Bendigo Freight Study
I supported this recommendation to endorse the Bendigo Freight Study findings and recommendations and to prepare an action plan to prioritise the recommendations and facilitate implementation.
This is a potentially transformative study, and if implemented, sets Greater Bendigo on a good track towards being the World’s Most Liveable Community.
Several months ago I attended the Freight Study Roundtable and met many local operators. The study identifies that freight (and its movement) impacts on our City’s liveablility, economy and environmental sustainability. With our population growing and growth in the demand for goods continuing to rise, so does the need to transport those goods from A to B.
The current trend forecasts freight doubling in size between 2010 and 2030 and that means more trucks and vans will be present on our roads and this will impact amenity, safety and the natural environment. It is now time to tackle the situation strategically and the study delivers key findings and recommendations that will assist our growing municipality to be as prepared as possible for dealing with this freight impact.
Key findings are grouped in themes of evidence, integrated planning, collaboration and innovation opportunities. In addition, technology, route options and waste management are all explored in this study, as are road safety, vehicle types and road infrastructure and Freight Hubs with amenities for rest and fatigue management.
The current trend forecasts freight doubling in size between 2010 and 2030
Bendigo Club Gaming Application
I supported the recommendation that Council endorse the economic and social impact submission lodged with the VCGRL on the 27 October 2017, advising the VCGLR that the overall social and economic impact of the proposed application by the Bendigo Club for an increase in the number of Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) at the premises from 44 to 60 is detrimental and is therefore not supported.
Findings in the assessment included that the stated economic benefits of additional income being generated by the club was not clear, and the proposed infrastructure investment was considered to be of greater benefit to the applicant than the community. Of concern are the findings in relation to social disbenefits including the increased incidence and impact of harm from gambling on the community, a negative community attitude to gaming across the municipality and the increased exposure of children to gambling activities (in particular as the Bendigo Club promotes a Kids Club.
As a city we should be concerned about the exposure of children to EGMs. The venue design allows children to see into the gaming room with the glass wall not providing a sufficient barrier and a door that is unlikely to be permanently closed.
Out and About This Month
The next Council meeting is on Wednesday December 13, 2017 at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall, perhaps I might see you there? Or you can tune in via the live broadcast on Phoenix FM 106.7.
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.